While most of us are driven by individual career goals and ambitions, what drives a few unconventional others is the divine calling to touch lives and illuminate them. One such soul is Shaikha Saeed, whose passion for community service was ignited in early childhood and has since nourished the community around her. Being raised in the United Arab Emirates, she proudly identifies the country as one of peace and giving. “I’m glad that I was able to pursue my passion in helping others in having a better life,” she says.
A Force of Change
Shaikha Saeed notes that she feels privileged to join the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children early on in her journey to bring transformation. Since its inception, the organization has been working tirelessly to provide the necessary support to women and children who are survivors of violence and human trafficking and educate the UAE society to prevent the causes and fallout of intimate violence.
Shaikha Saeed modestly shares how the DFWAC has been ever-changing and growing, which has allowed her to be able to move between different positions to explore and help as necessary at every turn, till she took up the responsibility of Acting Director-General of this organization. “With this role and responsibility, I wake up every day hoping to wipe tears and draw a smile on the faces of other people and support my team in the challenges we face every day,” she states emphatically.
From anti-bullying workshops to campaigns combatting human trafficking, DFWAC has been working with various stakeholders from embassies and migrant forums, as well as leveraging the power of social media to drive change. “I was able to help the victims and make a change in their lives through the different roles and responsibilities I was leading in this foundation. Having the honour to become the Acting Director-General of the foundation in 2020 helped me reshape the institutional culture and settle the organizational foundations by placing policies and regulations into practice,” states Shaikha Saeed.
The leader points out that working in community service exposes one to different challenges, but no roadblock has been as daunting as Covid-19. The organization had to tide over many curveballs thrown by the pandemic, like health issues and staff and other key people being confined in their homes.
“During the pandemic, we learned the importance of collaboration and supporting each other and that we are in one boat. We can’t make it to the safe shore without raising and promoting the humanitarian values of charity, giving, solidarity, and tolerance,” she asserts.
Shaikha Saeed notes that even in a year as trying as 2020, the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children was able to circumvent the impact of the pandemic and ensure business continuity by delivering the support needed for the women and children in the shelter, courtesy of the DFWAC staff.
Despite mounting obstacles posed by COVID, the NGO implemented a range of preventive measures for women and children that included awareness lectures about the pandemic, modifying the requirements of organizing events, as well as allocating accommodation for isolating and quarantining the new cases to ensure the safety of all survivors. “Most importantly, we managed to promote humanitarian values and raised awareness about the elimination of violence against women and children during this difficult time using social media and other media outlets,” she says.
Gearing Up For The Road Ahead
With a stoic resilience to keep going, Shaikha Saeeda shares that DFWAC was able to grow and improve its services through years of collaborating with different partners locally and internationally to facilitate and deliver instrumental support for DFWAC clients. Furthermore, it was able to provide donations to build new shelters or sponsor programs, as well as host an international conference in Dubai. “We have received different awards for the work we’ve done to alleviate violence against women and children such as the Chaillot Diploma award by European Union, Hamdan bin Mohammed Award for Smart Government No.1 award in the Care & Rehabilitation category, besides many more achievements. These are a true testament to the hard work and dedication put in by the DFWAC team,” she says.
When it comes to her professional benchmarks, Shaikha Saeed believes that her most significant achievement is shifting her career to follow her dream of working in a community service organization as impactful as the DFWAC. “As an Emirati woman and a woman living in the United Arab Emirates, you will always be motivated to work in new challenges and align with the national initiatives such as supporting women and children, giving, and tolerance,” she remarks.
DFWAC and its Acting Director-General have already their eyes on the next big thing to take on as they set sight on developing the organization’s new strategic plan for the coming period, including objectives and initiatives that would contribute towards family and social stability. “We will continue to spread awareness and strengthen protection and social care for the most vulnerable groups till we fill lives with happiness and only light,” a proud Sheikha Saeed says.